A still from Puss in Boots: The Last Wish of orange cat Puss in Boots wearing his trademark hat with a feather in it and sticking out his sword.

How to Watch the ‘Puss in Boots’ Movies in Order

Puss in Boots initially made his debut as a fairy tale character several centuries ago, but ask nearly anyone you know nowadays and their mind will most likely jump immediately to the orange sword-wielding feline from the Shrek film series. While the Shrek movies are all heavily based on fairy tale tropes and characters, the franchise’s iteration of Puss in Boots has become the definitive interpretation of the character in the modern era, similar to how the Disney Princesses have by and large become the definitive versions of those fairy tale characters. Antonio Banderas’ Puss in Boots became so popular in his Shrek appearances, in fact, that DreamWorks decided to greenlight a solo movie for him, which has since garnered a sequel that has become one of the most highly regarded animated films of the modern era.

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While you can simply put on 2011’s Puss in Boots and understand it just fine, there are several movies to watch in order to experience the character’s full story. Here is the order in which they were meant to be seen.

Shrek 2 (2004)

Puss in Boots wields his sword, standing in a forest.

While this is the second film in the Shrek franchise (and watching the original first will undoubtedly add to the enjoyment of this one) it is the first appearance of Puss in Boots. He first shows up pretty early in the film in the form of a small, adorable kitten, only to catch Shrek and Donkey by surprise and quickly show them who he really is: a fierce and feisty Spanish feline, ready for a sword fight at any time.

Puss’s best scene in this movie is probably the final battle at the castle, in which he plays an integral part in the action that is both epic and funny at the same time. He also gets to sing a duet with Donkey at the end of the film (for more of Puss in Boots singing, check out “Far Far Away Idol,” a short originally included as a bonus feature on the Shrek 2 DVD that can now be found online).

Shrek the Third (2007)

Shrek stands in a town square.

Puss in Boots is back in the role of co-sidekick along with Donkey (despite the latter insisting in the last movie that “the position of annoying talking animal [had] already been taken). While he gets to go on the main adventure to find Arthur and bring him to Far Far Away so he can be king instead of Shrek, Puss doesn’t get a whole lot to do in this movie. Heck, neither does Donkey, or even Shrek himself since so much of the movie is focused on Arthur’s story and journey to accept the role of king.

Even for a lot of the most hardcore Shrek fans, this movie has pretty much been deemed skippable, and this is doubly true for those who have it on their watchlist because of Puss in Boots. However, for those who are completists, it’s here on this list (and Puss admittedly does have a good line or two in there).

Shrek the Halls (2007)

Puss in Boots wears a santa hat and swings a candy cane like a sword.

While not technically a movie, Shrek the Halls is a television special that quickly became an annual tradition for many people to watch during the holiday season. Shrek gathers together with his family and friends for Christmas, but things naturally go awry and it’s up to Shrek to pull things together to ensure everyone has a happy holiday.

This special is pretty short, and Puss in Boots doesn’t get a lot to do, but he does get to be the center of one of the funniest parts of the whole thing. Shrek the Halls isn’t a necessary watch in order to understand Puss’s overall story or the Shrek movies in general, but it’s worth a watch come December or whenever you want to get into the holiday spirit.

Shrek Forever After (2010)

Puss in Boots rides on Donkey, giving him a thumbs-up. Puss is fat, and not wearing his usual costume.

The final film in the Shrek series (at least for now, since the likelihood of a Shrek 5 seems to be increasing as of recent years) features Puss in Boots yet again, but the Puss we’ve grown to know and love by this point is largely absent. That’s because Shrek makes a deal with the devil (okay, Rumpelstiltskin, but honestly, same difference) which results in reality as he knows it disappearing and an alternate one taking its place.

In this new version of the Shrek universe, the titular character runs into alternate versions of his family and friends, and yes, this of course includes Puss in Boots. Let’s just say Marvel fans may notice some parallels with a certain Avengers: Endgame character, and everyone else is sure to be surprised by the big reveal of what the alternate Puss in Boots is up to as well.

Scared Shrekless (2010)

Puss in boots is dressed as a vampire, with a cape and fangs.

Scared Shrekless is another holiday special, this time themed around Halloween. Set up like a “Treehouse of Horror” episode of The Simpsons, the bulk of the special consists of three “scary” stories told by and starring different characters from the franchise.

Puss in Boots narrates the second story, “Boots Motel,” along with Donkey. Unsurprisingly, the tale is set in a parody of Psycho’s Bates Motel and focuses on the two characters, though with two narrators, the story keeps being rewritten depending on who is speaking at the time.

Puss in Boots (2011)

Puss in Boots drives a wagon, with a black cat beside him.

Puss in Boots depicts the origin story of its titular hero, so it does take place before the events of Shrek 2 and is technically the first movie in the franchise chronologically. However, it is a prequel made after all the Shrek movies, and prequels are usually made with the idea that most people watching have seen the previous installments featuring the character in mind, so for that reason we’re putting it later on this list.

This movie really plays into the fairy tale setting of the franchise to a level not seen in the series since the first two Shrek movies. Characters like Humpty Dumpty, Jack in the Beanstalk, and Little Boy Blue are introduced, giving Puss a new cast of characters to interact with which play into the darkness of fairy tales and lend themselves nicely to this adventure in which he takes the main spotlight for the first time.

Puss in Boots: The Last Wish (2022)


Serving simultaneously as a sequel to Puss in Boots and a prequel to Shrek 2 and beyond, Puss in Boots: The Last Wish has been a surprise hit, especially considering it came out 11 years since the last movie and more than two decades since the Shrek heyday began.

This movie has not only become one of the most well-regarded installments of the Shrek universe, but one of the most highly praised animated films in recent memory. It brings back some of the characters from the previous movie like Kitty Softpaws while bringing in some new ones, and is a surprisingly dark movie at times, even for the Shrek franchise. If you’re reading this, you likely want to watch the other movies on this list so you can get to this one, and it will more than likely be worth the wait and effort.

(featured image: DreamWorks)

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Julia Delbel
Julia Delbel (she/her) is a contributing writer at The Mary Sue and has been doing freelance entertainment coverage for five years. She loves diving into film, television, and theater, especially Marvel, DC Disney, and animated content, particularly taking a hard look at their character development, storyline weaving, and place in the pop culture pantheon.